Bournemouth University History

bournemouth university logo

Bournemouth University History

Bournemouth University (abbreviated BU) is a public university in Bournemouth, Dorset, England, with its main campus situated in neighbouring Poole. The university was founded in 1992 as one of the new universities, however the origins of its predecessor date back to the early 1900s.

The university was a finalist for two prizes in British higher education – the 2009 Times Higher Education (THE) Awards for “University of the Year” and “Research Project of the Year”.

Traditionally known for its focus on professional courses, in the 2000s Bournemouth University invested in research to underpin its curriculum and maximise its contribution to the regional and national economies. The university currently has over 16,000 students, including over 1,500 international students.

The university is recognised for its work in the media industries, being home to the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice (CEMP). Graduates from the university have worked on a number of Hollywood films, including “Gravity“, which was awarded the Achievement in Visual Effects Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards.

In September 2016, the Times and Sunday Times annual Good University Guide ranked Bournemouth University 6th in the South West and 62nd nationally.

The university was first founded in the early 20th century as the predecessor Bournemouth Municipal College. The institution initially offered courses to prepare students for degrees of the University of London (1942-1976).In the mid 1960s there were 6,850 day and evening students.As early as 1965, in the House of Commons, the rate of students at the Institute was highlighted, and the Secretary of State was asked to consider a university application.At the time the Government did not intend to create any new universities until the late 1970s, and so Bournemouth would have to wait until the 1990s before its ambitions of gaining a university would be fulfilled.

In the 1970s the college became the Bournemouth College of Technology. Owing to a review by the Dorset Education Committee, also undertaken in the 1970s, the College of Technology changed once more to become Dorset Institute of Higher Education (DIHE).

Bernard MacManus was appointed Director in 1983 and presided over a significant expansion in curriculum and student numbers, against a backdrop of initial uncertainty over the Weymouth Campus. During this time the Talbot Campus was consolidated having been completed earlier in 1976, and the Student Village was also constructed. A second campus was also established, at Lansdowne. The period between 1983 and 1994 also saw the Institute expand into new frontiers such as heritage, tourism, tax, and public relations, in addition to computer animation and information systems.Many of these would later become areas of strength for the university, for example in the form of the National Centre for Computer Animation.

Two foundation stones remain from the history of the university. The foundation stone for the College of Technology (1970s) resides in the main lobby of Poole House, Talbot Campus. The foundation stone for the Dorset Institute is mounted in Dorset House near what is now called The Edge. Bernard MacManus was honoured by Bournemouth University with an honorary doctorate in 2007.